KONAWEB - Kona Hawai'i

To Kona

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I avoid problems with moving companies?
A. Read these great tips provided by Harry Pritikin and Cheryl K, two long time KONAWEB members

Q. Can I search the Forum Archives?
A. We do not archive posts. Please print out posts that are important to you.

Q. Isn't it expensive to live in Kona?
A. Yes, compared to say...Iowa or Texas. It is more like Boulder, Colorado, or parts of California. Gasoline has to be shipped in, electricity has to be created on each island, as there is no large power grid. (Click here to compare) Those of us who live here are content with what some people call the "Paradise Tax." It isn't really a tax, of course. Groceries, rent, electricity and gas all cost more here, but there are also benefits that offset these burdens: Hawai`i as a state is the healthiest in the nation, heating costs are unheard of so fewer clothes/shoes are needed, in many parts of the island air conditioning is not necessary, vegetables and flowers grow year round, and fresh produce is available from farmers' markets.

Q. How should I proceed in my research before moving to the island?
A. Everyone has a different situation, but the best first step is to honestly ask yourself often, "Do I really want to live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and in particular, the Big Island?" The only way to tentatively find that out is to spend as much time here as you can before you decide to move, and try to live as much like a resident as you can when you visit. Talk to as many people who live here as you can and compare their feedback on the different areas of the island. You will need to fill a "niche" of some sort here to guarantee employment. With airline fares at their current rates, will you miss your relatives/grandkids too much to be happy here long? After considering these aspects of a move here, if you can confidently answer the initial question with a "Yes," you can probably start laying the groundwork to move here.

Q. Rent or Buy?
A. You may want to think carefully about this. Unless you are very familiar with the island, and have lived here previously, there are a lot of things to learn before you decide where to buy. Something as simple as traffic flow problems or vog can make an ideal vacation spot a terrible place to live. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with Hawai`i's Landlord/Renter laws.

Q. What can I do on my next trip to prepare for moving?
A.You should spend a little time reading the West Hawai'i Today Classifieds and talking to people in your profession. If you have explored the island, familiarizing yourself with the different climate zones and distances from employment, etc., and are planning to buy a house at some point, it would not be a bad idea to plan a meeting with a realtor while you have time to look at properties. Have them drive you around the areas you are interested in, and ask questions. Get a street map of West Hawai`i.

In your first year here, you will learn a lot, both about Hawai`i and yourself: what your preferred climate is, how far you wish to commute to your job, your favorite recreations, your reaction to vog. All these things should be taken into account and we think it's a very good idea to rent until you are sure that you have found "your" place.

Q. Where can I get a Hawai`i Island phone book online?
A. Visit Verizon's Book Store

Q. What are rental prices like?
A. Check the Classifieds from West Hawai`i Today newspaper to get an idea of the current rates.

Q. What are the island's schools like?
A. Here are a few websites on just this subject. The District Superintendent can be reached at (808) 974-6600.

Hawai`i Department of Education
All Hawai`i Public School listings sorted by Island, Name, & Grade

Other Schools:
Hawai`i Preparatory Academy
Hualalai Academy
Parker School
St. Joseph High School
Waimea Country School
Hawai`i Community College
University of Hawai`i at Hilo
University of the Nations

Q. What is the job market like?
A. The short answer is "Check the local papers", but you should also plan to talk to people here. Many jobs never make it into the paper. This is an island; word gets around, and people "network." Check out bulletin boards around the island for advertising your skill or finding out about jobs.
Univ. of HI-Hilo Career Center has one of the best online Hawai`i job sources link listings at: http://career.uhh.Hawaii.edu/HI_jobs_student.php

Q. How can I ship my car and furniture?
A. There are companies that specialize in this. Get recommendations from the posters on the Moving to the Big Island Forum. Once your car arrives, you will have some details to take care of. Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles Website to learn more.

Q. How can I get around Ali`i Drive in Kailua-Kona without a car?
A. The Free Keauhou Honu Express Shuttle that runs along Alii Dr. is a good alternative to using a car to get around Kailua-Kona. Here are its stops.

Q. Is there wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) in Kailua-Kona?
A. Some that we know of are:
Kona Coast Shopping Center's Center Food Court - Palani Rd.
Kona Brewing Company - North Kona Coast Shopping Center, Kuakini Hwy.
Island Lava Java - Coconut Grove Market Place, Alii Dr.

Q. Can I bring my pet?
A. Yes, but you will have to deal with the Department of Agriculture and their quarantine system. Hawai`i Dept. of Agriculture Quarantine Information
Hawai`i Animal Quarantine from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin
A Map of the Honolulu Airport (PDF File)

Traveling with dogs - Recommendations By Sarah BLA:

1. For very long flights -- 8 hours or more -- try to plan an overnight stopover 
in Honolulu or on the mainland west coast.  Paperwork processing can take a half 
hour or it can take several hours, adding to your dog's 'crate-time.'

2. If you can, buy the next-size-larger crate so if your dogs need to urinate/defecate 
en route, they'll have a chance to do so without messing up the whole crate and themselves.  
Be sure to line it with absorbent paper/newsprint that you can throw out when you get there.

3. Book early with Hawai'ian Airlines for the final interisland flight, because space is 
limited -- they only take three crates per flight.

4. The morning of the flight, don't feed, or feed only lightly.  Give plenty of water, 
however -- pressurized airplane air is very drying.

5. When you get to Honolulu, grab a baggage cart or two and take them with you to 
the quarantine facility to transport your dog-in-crate back to the terminal for the 
final leg of the flight. No provisions are made for helping you acquire a baggage cart 
once you're at the quarantine facility, and you may NOT take your dog out of the crate 
"on airport property."

6. There are NO authorized walk-and-bathroom areas on airport property in Honolulu, 
but if you absolutely need to take your dog out of its crate at the airport, here's how:

- Bring paper towels, plastic baggies and diaper wipes with you for cleanup, plus 
bottled water and dog food if they haven't eaten for a while. 

- After checkout from the quarantine station, put the crate(s) on the baggage cart 
and head straight back up to the main access road that goes around the airport terminal. 

- Go straight across the access road and into the parking lot on the other side. 
Assuming it's still daytime, look for the little farmers' market stalls on the far 
side of the parking lot. Ask the aunties who are selling leis there about the place 
where the airport security people walk THEIR dogs, then go to the little grassy 
triangle behind the parking lot, and let your dog out briefly on a lead. Pick up after 
your dog. Clean the crate as needed, feed/water your dog, put everything back on the 
baggage cart, and GO BUY A LEI (maybe two or three) from the aunties. Thank them!

- It's important to have a second person to help you with all this. 

7. WRITE TO THE STATE asking them to add two items to the quarantine facilities: 
a fenced, authorized dog-walk area and a baggage-cart dispenser. 

Q. Can I bring my houseplants?
A. It would be like "bringing coals to Newcastle", but yes, you can. You will have to deal with the Department of Agriculture, though.

Q. Where can I get tips about gardening in Hawai`i?
A.Use these phone numbers for free advice:
Kona Outdoor Circle offers on-going plant advice by phone with Master Gardeners and Tropical Gardening Advisers from 3-6pm on Mondays at 331-2426, on Thursdays at the Univ. of HI Cooperative Extension Service from 9am-noon at 322-4892, or from UH CES in Hilo on Tuesdays and Fridays at 981-5199.

Q. How can I control ants in Hawai`i?
A. Use this time tested (natural) recipe:
1 teaspoon boric acid
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups hot water (this water must be really hot)
Mix ingredients and pour over cotton balls. Put mixture in cottage cheese containers with lids and poke holes about 1/8" from the bottom. Don't worry if you have more ants the first couple of days. After third day, ant problem should be gone. BE SURE NOT TO PUT THIS WHERE CHILDREN AND PETS CAN GET INTO IT.

Also, remember that in Hawai`i you must seal up any "opened" or partially eaten food items in plastic bags or put them in the refrigerator immediately or bugs you didn't even know were around will appear from nowhere - fast. Don't put food on the floor or the ground, either, or you're asking for sudden ant infestations (pizza boxes, bags of cookies, etc). Keep areas around pet food bowls clean, and even think of setting pet food bowls in little saucers of water to keep ants out. (Works great!)

Q. What medical facilities/organizations are available on the Big Island?
A. Major hospitals are located in Kealakekua and Waimea as well as Honoka`a and Hilo. UrgentCare in Keauhou Shopping Center is highly recommended for emergencies. They are open 9am-9pm, 7 days a week and a good alternative to the hospital emergency room. There is another emergency facility across from the Crossroads Shopping Center, where Walmart and Safeway are. Specialists in most fields are available on the Island. Here are a few requested numbers:

  • Alzheimer's Assn. (808) 322-4141
  • Kona Dialysis Facility (808) 322-2131
  • Kona Community Hospital (808) 322-9311
  • North Hawai'i Community Hospital (808) 885-4444
  • American Cancer Society, West Hawai'i Unit (808) 334-0442; East Hawai'i Unit (808) 935-9763
  • Veterans Services (808) 969-3833
  • Big Island HIV/Aids Foundation - (808) 322-1718

Q. Is there a cancer support group?
A. Yes, there is one called "You'll Never Walk Alone" for survivors and care givers which meets the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month from 11am to 12:30pm. No fee; light refreshments served. Contact Michele Robinson at 333-5328 for directions.

Q. Is there a grief/bereavement support group?
A. Yes, Hospice of Kona and Hospice of Hilo offer aid to people who need support in adjusting to loss or help with the terminally ill. Visit www.hospiceofkona.org/ or www.hospiceofhilo.org/ for more info.

Q. Is there family support?
A. Neighborhood Place of Kona, a 5013c, focuses on child abuse and providing a safe place for families, but they are also a clearinghouse to help families find any services they need. And, in these hard times they can also provide a bit of cash or some food, or sometimes just a hug. They cover from Kohala to Ka`u, and have a sister agency in Puna for the East side of the island. They are located in Kona's Old Industrial Area. See their website at www.neighborhoodplaceofkona.org

Q. Are there special agencies which help seniors?
A. Yes, here are some important phone numbers:

  • Senior Services - (808) 322-7977.
  • Coordinated Services for the Elderly - (808) 323-2085
  • Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) - (808) 961-8730

Q. Are there other volunteer opportunities on the island?
A. Yes, here are a few:

Q. What areas are affected by "vog"?
A. Any area on the island can, and will, experience vog, depending on which way the wind blows. The wind usually blows vog from Kilauea crater and the lava flows' ocean entry around the island to the South Kona District, where it tends to sit, although North Kona, and even Maui and Oahu often get a share of it. Hawi on the Big Island seems to be affected less often than other island locations. A different form of vog affects areas near the volcano. Puna gets strong doses of vog from time to time, but not often.

Q. What areas are likely to be affected by volcanic eruption?
A. There's an old Hawai'ian expression for an angry wife which translates something like this: "Pele is pouring lava on Puna again..." Well, the Puna District does take the brunt of her wrath, but there are other places that could be affected sometime in the future. Here's a lava flow hazard map: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hawaii_lava_flows.html

Q. What should I keep on hand for emergencies?

A."Most kama`aina I know keep much the same on hand, as we have been through enough to know that the only thing "normal" is that SOMEthing is going to happen!" -Aunty LeleFor emergencies such as:
  • shipping strikes
  • hurricanes
  • tsunamis
  • floods
  • lava flows
  • earthquakes
Keep the following items on hand:
  • Five 5-gallon jugs of potable water
  • working propane stove
  • 4 full propane tanks
  • battery-operated radio
  • flashlights
  • spare batteries
  • crank flashlight
  • 1 week non-perishable food
  • working kerosene lamps
  • lamp oil

Q. How do I get a driver's license?
A. Stop by Longs and pick up the Driver's License Manual to take the test. You will need some form of proof of license eligibility from the last state in which you held a license, and you'll need to take a driving test. The DMV office is now located at West Hawai`i Civic Center, 75-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kailua Kona, HI 96740. Ph: (808) 323-4800

Q. Does the island have a recycling program?
A. Click Here for Recycle Hawai'i's website.

Q. Does anyone know how to make Dave's Teriyaki Turkey?
A. Click Here for this classic recipe.

Q. Does anyone know how to make Liliko`i Cheesecake - Konabob Style?
A. Click Here for KB's specialty!

Q. When do the cruise ships show up in Kona?
A. The cruise ships schedule is available here. (The schedule is subject to change.)

If you have a question about moving to, living on or visiting the Big Island of Hawai`i, post it on the KONAWEB Big Island Forum - you will be amazed at the knowledge our Forum members possess about the island! - or, as a last resort, email us!

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